Americans have always been known for their industriousness and creative spirit. The early to mid 1900s saw a boom of immigrant laborers through America’s gates, and with those hardy individuals, neighborhoods and businesses consisting of new and different cultures flourished. It wasn’t always easy, but an innovative mind certainly helped. Unfortunately, not everyone is well-intentioned. Fraudsters have a creative streak, as well – at least according to today’s Fraud of the Day from Seattlepi.com.

The article reports that six enterprising Washington residents have been accused of unemployment fraud resulting in thousands of dollars of stolen funds. The six cases are not related, but each presented a creative way of bilking the system and taking advantage of unemployment fraud. According to the article, one Tacoma resident claimed she was unemployed for almost a year when she was working for an airline.

A 27-year-old Auburn resident allegedly used her incarcerated boyfriend’s name and Social Security number to collect unemployment while he was in jail. Boom, $21,000. (That could buy a really nice jumpsuit…)

One of the more interesting defendants though, was a man who allegedly continued defrauding the system even after he was banned from collecting unemployment following an audit. (If the facts are true, it’s like saying: thanks for the advice, but I think I’ll just keep making money off you instead.)

Each of the six alleged fraudsters is suspected to have made off with anywhere from $14,000 to $78,000. If these allegations are true, these men and women – who were identified during a U.S. Department of Labor and State Employment Security investigation – are rife with an insidious creativity that manages to rob the government of more and more money every day. In the wider scope, $21,000, $26,000, is a drop in a very, very large bucket. Unemployment fraud is not going to go away unless government agencies become more creative than the fraudsters, and beat them at their own game. Our government agencies need to imagine ways to counteract against these vigilantes.

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